Do I need an attorney if I’m receiving weekly workers’ comp checks?

I get this question from time to time, and I got it again today.  Excusing my obvious bias, the answer is “yes.”

Most of the time, when I get this call, the injured worker who has called me never saw a panel of physicians–he was told where to go for medical treatment and never knew he had a choice as to where to go for treatment.

Sometimes, the injured worker has never been told he can get medical mileage reimbursed (or a ride to his medical appointments), because the insurance adjuster has “forgotten” to tell him about this benefit.

Other times, the injured worker doesn’t know he can get a 2nd opinion or “IME” (independent medical examination) under O.C.G.A. 34-9-202e with a doctor he chooses, as opposed to one the insurance company mandates.

I’ve even seen an injured worker get issued a PPD (permanent partial disability) rating that was never paid.

Perhaps the adjuster will invent a job for the injured worker to do, tell him he has to show up and do it (while on a “no work” status with the workers’ comp doctor), and then cut off the weekly TTD (temporary total disability) checks when the injured workers obeys the adjuster’s instructions.

Thus, there are several issues that can come up after your case is accepted, and if you don’t have someone acting as your advocate who is at least as familiar (hopefully more familiar) with Georgia’s workers’ compensation laws as is the insurance adjuster who’s currently dictating your treatment options, you won’t know what your rights and options are.

Ignorant and broke are no way to go through life after an injury at work.  Talk to a knowledgeable attorney.

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